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I am into landscape and wildlife (bird) photography. I am not a pro, but I sell stock photographs online through different microstock agencies. These agencies demand photographs of professional standard. The 7D2 is an additional new tool in my camera arsenal. I haven't tried the video of the 7D2 yet. My opinion is based upon my observations in the field.
I used to own the original 7D, then I moved on to the 1DIV and now the 1DX. Needless to say, the 1DX is a fantastic camera. Pro body with pro quality result. At $6,800 (when it was released), you expect the best of everything. It delivers. With lots of experience in using the 1DX, I can say that the 7D2 is no slouch. I purchased the 7D2 for extra reach due to its 1.6x crop factor.
In terms of AF accuracy and speed, the 7D2 beats the old 7D, the 1DIV, and is almost the equal to the 1DX. The 1DX's shutter responsiveness is a bit faster than the 7D2 (no big deal here), and the AF lock-on is tighter. I guess the 1DX's huge battery may be the big contributor to the super tight AF. However, the 7D2 is not far behind at all. Another bonus is that the shutter is way quieter than the 1DX. Quieter shutter release is good for wildlife photography as you don't want to let the birds know you are present.
Last week, I used the 7D2 and the 500mm f/4 IS II combo. The 500 mm becomes 800 mm because of the 1.6x crop factor of the 7D2. With good lighting, AF is super quick and the photos are tack sharp. I have been using the 1DX + 1.4x III + 500 mm f/4 IS II to get to 700mm. I got tack sharp photos as well. However, the 7D2 and the 500mm yields even sharper photos. The 1.4x III does degrade the pictures by, I would say, 10% to 15%. The 2X III degrades by 20% to 25% in my opinion. I always reserve the 2X III for static subjects. 1.4X III can be used effectively for Bird in Flight. I really like the extra reach of the 7D2. Now I can get 800mm with the 7D2 and the 500mm combo without the 1.4X III extender. That is why the photos are a bit sharper. The 7D2 has 20 mp vs the 1DX's 18 mp. The extra 2 mp is no big deal, but it does allow a tighter cropping.
What are the downsides of the 7D2? Well, I mentioned good lighting above. The 7D2 is impressive with good lighting. With low light or less ideal lighting, the 1DX excels. The 7D2 becomes a bit slower. The biggest gripe I have with the 7D2 is its noise control, which is only slightly better (perhaps 2/3 of a stop) than the 7D and not as good as the 1DIV. But keep in mind that the IDIV has only 16 mp and it is 1.3x crop, meaning bigger sensor. Darker/shadow areas show more prominent noise with the 7D2. The 1DX's noise control is the best. Full frame sensor is way better with noise than a crop sensor. I always blow up my raw photos to 100% to check for noise and sharpness. All the stock agencies do the same. I really wish Canon did better with the 7D2's noise control. Post-processing can reduce the 7D2's noise to a level for commercial use. Without looking at the photos at 100%, the 7D2 files look clean. So far I only tried ISO 500 and 640 with the 7D2. The key is to nail your exposure with the 7D2. You have more wiggle room with the 1DX though. In other words, you need to work harder to get the best results from the 7D2. Also, its battery life is short. I could only shoot approx. 900 photos before I need to change the battery and I didn't use video at all.
I will use the 1DX for ISO 1250 and above. When I use the 7D2, I will try to keep it at ISO 1000 or less. For commerical use, I have to keep the noise level really low. Another observation is that crop sensor does yield more depth of field than a full frame sensor. It seems f/5.6 with the 7D2 is like f/7.1 or even f/8 with the 1DX. I can actually use more wide open f/stops and thus lower ISO with the 7D2.
Overall, the 7D2 is an excellent camera for wildlife and sport photography. Excellent AF, speed, and sharpness is the admission ticket to high quality wildlife photos. By now you probably are thinking that the 1DX is still the best. Yes it is. But the 7D2 at $1,800 (which is 1/3 of the 1DX) is the real deal. I can comfortably use it to produce photographs for commercial use. Think about it. The 7D2 is 20 mp (2 mp more than the 7D) and its noise level is about 2/3 stop better than the 7D. Plus it has better AF system and its LCD screen has higher resolution than the 1DX. To me, these are good improvements. The 7D2 is awesome. Below are some sample images I took with the 7D2 and the 500 mm f/4 IS II combo. Details and sharpness are incredible.
This is part II of my experience with the Canon 5D Mark III.
I mentioned that in part I that its focusing system was great even in
low light environment. I decided to test it again in BIF photography.
My test subjects included sea gulls and Forster's Terns.
I also brought along my beloved 1DIV for this test. The lenses used were
70-200 mm f/2.8L IS II and a teleconverter 2XIII. For subjects moving
in erratic direction, especially the Forster's Tern, the 5DIII was able
to focus, lock in, and track very quickly. I got quite a few
sharp images. Honestly, I started BIF photography since January 2012 and I
only take pictures on weekends. So my BIF photographic skill is still developing.
It is fine, but not great. Given that, I still managed to get 50 - 60% sharp images,
compared to 40 - 50% with the 1DIV.
I do think that the 5DIII was a bit faster in focusing than the 1DIV. However, the shutter
sensitivity (shutter response time) was better with the 1DIV though. Also, the 1DIV captured
more images due to its 10 fps capability.
In terms of noise performance, I think both are quite close. Please note that
I only use raw mode. I guess the 5DIII's noise performance with jpeg should be very good.
With raw, I do notice that the 5DIII is more detailed and roughly 1/2 to 1 stop better than the
5DII in high ISO like 3200 and above.
Overall, the 5DIII is a great all around camera. It can do both landscape/portrait and action.
With only 6 fps, it managed to get some great BIF photos. Please see a sample in the link below.
Some folks keep saying the 5DIII is overly priced. I do think that its improved auto focus and 6 fps
in full frame are worth the admission price and also the upgrade from the 5DII. The 5DIII is awesome.
Stay tuned for more updates and experience with the 5DIII.
This is not a review of the new Canon 5D III. There are already tons of reviews and tests online for this camera. I just like to share a few things I experienced using the 5D III on the Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary firework event.
The focusing system is vastly improved over the 5D II which I still have. It locks focus fast and responsive even at very low light situation while the 5D II was hunting. I do think that the dynamic range is also a bit better than the 5D II. But one thing that surprised me was that the new 5D III has more detail than the old one.
I mostly use raw mode to take photos. I think the new one has 1/2 to 1 stop better noise performance than the old. I will take the 5D III out for a test on bird in flight photography to see how its focusing system performs on fast moving objects.
Overall, its picture quality is very high. I am very happy with the firework photos taken with the new 5D III. Stay tuned for more experience sharing with the 5D III.
Please visit my website at keneva.zenfolio.com for more photos. Here is the link to some of my Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary firework photos. http://keneva.zenfolio.com/p349181680